Harvey Norman Lounge failure

Good morning readers,

A Hardly Normal lounge suite saga 🙂


I thought I would share a little story about a client’s lounge suite that I had to work on recently.

The lounge suite was bought from Harvey Norman in Tweed Heads in NSW Australia. The lounge suite was imported by “Coral Bay East Coast Pty Ltd” based in Castle Hill, Sydney, Australia, but was manufactured in China. There is no indication of whether Coral Bay is the designer, or if they just remarket a Chinese product.

The problem that I found with this lounge suite, was that the cables that operated the recliner function had failed. This had apparently occurred not much later than the 12 month warranty that Harvey Norman indicated applied to the lounge suite.

I was surprised that the cables had failed. Those of you who have ever worked on a bicycle, would be aware of the type of cables that I am talking about. See the following picture.

Bike Cable

The knob at the end of this cable (as above), associated with the recliner function, had completely come off – on both cables! The outcome of this was that the recliner function no longer worked.

Upon review of this lounge suite, it was quite obvious what the problem was immediately. When you pulled on the trigger to operate the recliner, nothing happened because the head had come completely off the cable.

In my opinion, the cables were not fit for purpose. Either the loading on the cables to operate the recliner function was too great, or the cables were of a poor quality.

Either way, the client was left with a lounge suite that no longer operated.

Harvey Norman was contacted by the owner to tell them of the fault, and their response was to buy two more cables and then pay someone to install them. The cost of this would likely amount to several hundred dollars in total.

I might point out that under Australian Consumer Law:



Since 1 January 2011, the following consumer guarantees on products and services apply.

Products must be of acceptable quality, that is:
•safe, lasting, with no faults
•look acceptable
•do all the things someone would normally expect them to do.

Acceptable quality takes into account what would normally be expected for the type of product and cost.


Under “Australian” consumer law, products are expected to last a reasonable length of time, which can be indicated by the cost and type of item.

Where to now?

According to the ACCC, if you product fails, there are three steps by which you can try to seek rectification of your fault.

Step 1—Contact the seller,
Step 2—Contact the ACCC or another third part (in NSW we also have The Department of Fair Trading for example)
Step 3—Take legal action

…see the pdf form ACCC listed above for a description of the steps…

One would hope that simply contacting the seller, perhaps after seeking help from Fair Trading or the ACCC, the seller would come to some compromise… but not always!

I might point out, that the above document also suggests that you can seek repairs from another person, and request that the seller reimburse you. Though I am not sure how far that would get you.

My thoughts:

Perhaps Harvey Normal and Coral Bay East Coast believe that paying over $2000 for a lounge suite obliges them to provide a product that is expected to be repaired or replaced after 12 months.

Which seems to be the case in this instance.

I believe that the cables have failed due to either poor manufacturing, or a cable that is not suitable for the loads placed upon it. I therefore put it to both Harvey Normal and Coral Bay, that their product is NOT up to a suitable standard to be marketed at that price.

Perhaps a product that lasts less than two years might be more suitable to a price range of perhaps less than $400.

I would personally recommend a close scrutiny of lounges and their warranty if you are considering buying from both Harvey Norman, and its supplier Coral Bay East Coast Pty Ltd.

While the lounge seems reasonable from initial appearances, and short term use, longer term use shows a quality that might appear to be substandard. At the least, there appears to be some parts that are substandard.

The suite in question was similar to the:
Sirocco Corner range, the
Argos Modular range, the
Sophia range, the
Marco range, the
Bourbon range, the
Barnsbury range, the
Kato range, and others.

The lounge suite had a small lever release for the recliner on two chairs (operated with fingers on the side of the chair, the cables attached to this is what failed); it was a light brown fabric lounge with two flip top boxes and  two pairs of cup holders. It was in an L shaped modular format. Under the foot rest (when in recliner mode) the suite was branded with “Coral Bay East Coast Pty Ltd – Castle Hill”.

As many of you live in Australia, and/or buy lounges from Harvey Norman, it would be wise to review their terms and conditions, and their warranties before deciding to spend $2000 plus on a lounge suite that they don’t want to take responsibility for.

As I was reasonably disgusted with Harvey Norman’s response, I have also written a review on productreview.com.au. You can find it at:


Note: Apparently the review that I posted didn’t comply with product review terms and conditions. Even though my review was acceptable in content, as I was not the purchaser, but writing on behalf of someone else, the review didn’t comply. My client (the purchaser) is going to write a response, which I will place here later.

Well that’s it folks. Hopefully those of you who are looking at buying a lounge suite will consider the issues raised before buying. Particularly before buying from Harvey Norman – or as I like to call them “Hardly Normal”.

Bye for now 🙂


PS: I have forwarded this link to Harvey Normal for their comment. We’ll see if they come to the party and repair my client’s lounge suite 🙂



About Blog of Greg

I consider myself a thinker and I like to discuss everything in life with those around me. Mostly I am serious, sometimes I am funny, and occasionally I am rude. I like to wear my heart on my sleeve and say what I feel, or think! It is important to me to be honest about how I feel and why! I detest pretense, big egos and self importance. I believe that I am no more important than you, and similarly that you are no more important than me! [apparently I should reflect on this more often] This blog is a way of engaging people in different aspects of life; its goal is to present a different view of life and contribute to a broadening of our awareness. While this blog is essentially my opinion, I also understand that there are other opinions out there. Though I encourage discussion, I may “delete” comments that I find are unhelpful, argumentative, or offensive towards myself or another person. Often I write about politics – apparently that is an interest of mine – but I also like to write about other more personal things that affect us in our day to day lives. Along with this blog, I also write to politicians and newspapers; I often present a commentary on my blog about following comments or decisions. That way everyone understands what they have said – and sometimes of course how big a buffoon they are:) Please feel free to comment on my posts, as I would like to hear what you have to say. After all…. Your opinion is just as valid as mine!
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5 Responses to Harvey Norman Lounge failure

  1. I also purchased a lounge from Harvey Norman imported by Coral Bay. The first recliner chair broke a cable 2 months out of warranty, the next chair broke soon after, this time it was the plastic which the hand trigger was made of, now both the recliners on the lounge are broken. One is definitely the plastic again the other I’m not sure as I have no one to pull it apart. I rang Harvey Norman and they explained to me it probably had dust and dirt built up in it that caused it to break. Out of the goodness of their heart they are coming to fix them both for $100. I am an 80 year old women with a beautifully new and clean home and not much strength and yet I have managed to break 2 recliners in 2 weeks.This will have cost me $300 since purchase for repairs, my last lounge lasted 20 years and had two repairs during that time. THEY DONT MAKE THEM LIKE THEY USED TO.


    • Blog of Greg says:

      Hi Janice,

      Thank you for sharing your experience with these lounges. It is sad that you too have had this experience. When we purchase such an expensive product, we expect it to last the distance. These days, that cannot be guaranteed. Our suppliers and retailers are all about making quick dollars, rather than looking after customers and supplying quality long lasting products.

      Harvey Norman is a series of Franchises. These big Franchises tent to care less about customers over time; they know that another customer will walk back in the door and buy something. Obviously this only works for a while, before many customers start to share bad experiences.

      You are right in some respects about not making them the way we used to. Our society likes everything to be cheap these days; we are a throw away society. What that means is that there is very little care about the quality of the product that is produced, and should something break, we are expected to just replace the product and throw the old one on the scrap heap.

      No wonder we have a vast waste problem.

      I am a tradesman and consider myself a craftsman. I build things to last a life time. I detest this appaling throw away cheap product society that we have built.

      Thanks again for writing your experience. May I suggest you also write a report on http://www.productreview.com.au. This website logs a permanent review of products from disgruntled consumers about poor quality products and services.

      I would also suggest that you leave feedback on Harvey Norman’s facebook page. Facebook reviews are read regularly by customer service staff and responded to more often that talking to a local store. It can be quite effective at solving problems; that is how I managed to get the initial one fixed for my client at a cheaper price.

      Thanks for reporting this Janice, we can only hope that if everyone keeps complaining about these lounges, they with either improve the quality of the product, or change their design – or go broke.

      In the interim, Harvey Norman needs to be held account for the poor quality products they are making.

      Bye for now,


  2. maya says:

    Hi greg, thanks for your thoughts on coral bay east coast- i am currently looking at a lounge suite in harvey norman made by them and your blog has given me something to think about in terms of warranty etc. thanks


    • Blog of Greg says:

      These particular mechanisms have a very short life span from what I can tell, and I found Harvey Normal lacking in support. They are all franchises, and as usual, no-one really wants to take responsibility. I have had a number of dealings with Harvey Norman over the years, and largely I find them over priced for average quality products. IMHO.

      Back to the mechanism though – this style of mechanism are found in many different brands of lounges, and going by what I saw in the Coral Bay lounge, there is a fair amount of load placed onto the cable ends. This causes them to fail fairly easily, and parts/install are relatively quite expensive. In my opinion, if you buy a lounge you shouldn’t have to keep buying the recliner mechanism every few years – ridiculous. It means that over a life time, your lounge costs 50% more than it should, and you keep paying every time the mechanism breaks.

      Quite frankly if I were to buy a lounge that is a recliner, I would choose a lever that you grab with your hand like the old style – no cables involved that can break, just a solid steel lever system. Less force placed on a tiny cable that would appear to fail far too easily.

      If you look at ebay you will find endless numbers of replacement mechanisms – this should tell us something! IMHO.

      Glad I was of assistance!


  3. Pingback: A Hardly Normal response! | The Blog of Greg

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